Kamis, 30 Oktober 2014

Lenovo's new Yoga Tablet 2 with Windows is a premium 13-inch slate

Lenovo's new Yoga Tablet 2 with Windows is a premium 13-inch slate

Lenovo just added a new member to its flagship tablet family with the 13-inch Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 with Windows.

This new and larger Windows-based Yoga tablet follows in the footsteps of the 8- and 10-inch versions announced earlier in October.

The new Yoga Tablet 2 with Windows essentially matches the Android-equipped Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Pro, with a 13.3-inch quad HD display, 1.86GHz quad-core Intel Atom chip, 15-hour battery, convenient kickstand, and 64GB of removable storage.

Besides the obvious difference - Windows 8.1 instead of Android - the new Windows-based 13-inch Yoga Tablet 2 also lacks the Android version's built-in projector, as well as its rear camera, opting instead for just a 1.6-megapixel front camera.

Mileage may vary

However Lenovo notes in the tablet's specs sheet that these details will vary by region.

Like other Lenovo tablets, the just-announced Yoga Tablet 2 ships with a Bluetooth keyboard cover, making it a powerful laptop/tablet hybrid.

Lenovo is also making a big deal out of the tablet's onboard subwoofer and dual "large-chamber speakers."

The 13-inch Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 with Windows will launch in November starting at $700 (about £440, AU$800). So far the tablet is only scheduled to launch in the US and China, Lenovo confirmed with TechRadar.

  • Lenovo's first fitness band looks rather familiar

50 Windows tablet with free Microsoft Office 365 goes on sale

£50 Windows tablet with free Microsoft Office 365 goes on sale

Remember that affordable Windows tablet we saw almost five months ago in Taiwan at Computex? Well, it reached our shores.

The first batch of cheap Windows 8.1 tablets has finally landed at major online and offline retailers in the UK with prices starting from as little as £49.98 if you want have an existing tablet to swap.

The Linx 7 costs as little as £79.98 at Ebuyer but you can claim up to £30 bringing the price down to just under £50. How good is that deal?

Well, you get Windows 8.1 and Office 365 Personal for a start; that subscription is worth £50 on its own. The hardware is not THAT bad; a quad-core Atom processor, 1GB of RAM, 32GB onboard storage, two 2-megapixel camera and a 7-inch 1280 x 800 pixel display.

Other than the system memory and the rear camera, the only other downside seems to be the lack of a HDMI port which would have allowed you to connect to an external display.

The Linx range also include an 8-inch model that's identical to the Linx 7 bar the larger screen and a slightly bigger battery capacity (it's also £20 more expensive) and a 10-inch model that has a larger screen (still the same resolution though), a bigger battery but also twice the RAM, twice the battery capacity and a HDMI port. It's also twice as expensive.

Cheap Windows tablets from little-known manufacturers are likely to be the untold success of this Christmas although their success could well make established brands nervous because the former are ready to live on very thin margins.

Check out how a sub-£100 Windows 8 tablet performs in the real world.

Amazon Kindle (2014) review

Amazon Kindle (2014) review
Ratings in depth

Amazon Kindle (2014) review

Amazon Kindle (2014) review

Amazon Kindle (2014) review

Amazon Kindle (2014) review

Amazon Kindle (2014) review

While the Kindle Voyage is the more exciting of Amazon's latest ereaders, the new Amazon Kindle (2014) shouldn't be overlooked as an affordable way to enter the world of paperless books.

Calling it just 'Kindle' makes it a little confusing to talk about, since it's not the first, second, third, fourth or even fifth device with that moniker. Amazon has discontinued all the previous models so it is, from the company's perspective, the one and only basic Kindle, designed to sit alongside the now mid-range Kindle Paperwhite and the flagship Kindle Voyage.

Despite the fact that Amazon hasn't changed the name it's actually quite different to last year's Kindle as it's the first basic model to offer a touchscreen display. Its 1GHz processor also apparently makes it 20% faster than its predecessor and it comes with double the storage, 4GB to be precise.

Another way to look at it is as being similar to the discontinued Kindle Touch, but with a lower price tag and its MP3 and text-to-speech features missing.

Amazon Kindle (2014) review
The Amazon Kindle (2014) is the cheapest and most basic Kindle available

In fact that price tag is one of the most appealing things about the Kindle, as it costs just £59 with adverts or £69 if you don't want adverts on your lock screen ($79 with special offers, $99 without). That's only just over half as much as the £109 ($139) Kindle Paperwhite and far, far cheaper than the £169 ($199) Kindle Voyage.

It's a little more expensive than some other entry-level ereaders, such as the Nook Simple Touch, which is now available from around £40 (about $64), but then the Amazon Kindle (2014) is newer and a bigger name.

It might be a basic model but it doesn't feel basic. The addition of a touchscreen is a real game changer for anyone coming from a non-touchscreen ereader, so much so that you'll likely wonder how you ever got by.

Amazon Kindle (2014) review
The addition of a touchscreen really makes a difference to the Kindle (2014)'s usability

It's instantly familiar too, at least if you've come from a previous Kindle model. That's no bad thing, as it means you spend less time learning how to use the thing and more time reading, but it does inevitably make it harder to stand out.

This seventh generation device looks and feels a lot like last year's model and the core reading experience is largely unchanged, but its 6-inch 167ppi display isn't anywhere near as sharp as the 300ppi Kindle Voyage and nor does it have a fancy backlight.

So is it really worth upgrading to if you're an existing Kindle owner or choosing over a cheaper competitor if you're new to the world of digital books?

Key features

The key selling point of the new Amazon Kindle (2014) is undoubtedly the screen and specifically the fact that it's the first basic Kindle model with a touchscreen. This really makes all the difference, no longer do you need to use awkward arrow buttons to navigate between books or use them to navigate across keys on the onscreen keyboard, instead you can just tap.

It's far faster and far more intuitive, making reading, shopping and looking words up a much more pleasant experience. Other than that the screen isn't much changed. At 6 inches it's the standard Kindle size and it's a good size too, slightly smaller than most physical books but large enough to easily read from.

Its 167ppi pixel density is starting to feel a bit old hat in the face of the 212ppi Kindle Paperwhite and the 300ppi Kindle Voyage. While it could certainly be sharper I had to look close to make out any pixels and unless you're holding it right up to your face it's comfortable to read on and never once gave me eye strain.

Amazon Kindle (2014) review
The Amazon Kindle (2014) might only have 212ppi but you'll struggle to make out any pixels on the screen

If you're coming direct from a higher end Kindle then you'll notice the difference, not just in terms of resolution but also contrast, which is a little flat here and a far cry from the pages of an actual book.

For that reason if you're an avid digital reader it might be worth spending a little more on a Voyage or Paperwhite, but if you're not coming from a higher end Kindle you won't know what you're missing and as such probably won't miss it, as the reading experience here is absolutely fine.

What I missed more was the built in light. If you tend to read in bed, particularly if you have a partner who is already asleep, a reading light is invaluable and even during the day I find that a little light shining on the screen makes it more pleasant to use.

When it comes to storing your library on the new Kindle (2014) there's no microSD card slot, so you're stuck with the built in storage. This year Amazon has doubled that to 4GB, which is enough to hold thousands of books.

Amazon Kindle (2014) review
The 4GB storage should be enough to hold thousands of books

If you have hundreds of thousands of books then you can use Amazon's cloud storage for the rest, which is easily accessible just as long as you have a Wi-Fi connection, so if you plan to live in a cave for a few months make sure you have all the books you want stored locally first.

Remember if you're looking to jump ship from either Nook or Kobo you won't be able to transfer your purchases to Kindle - so you may want to consider the added cost of re-paying for some of your favourite reads before making the switch.